How does a Court decide Relocation Cases?
Courts assess whether or not a parent should be able to either relocate with a child, or be ordered to return to their former location of residence (if they have already moved) on a case by case basis, according to the facts of each case.
A relocating parent must present good reasons to the court as to why the relocation will be in the ‘best interests of the child’ and what arrangements they propose for the other parent to have regular and meaningful time with the child.
The Court must keep the ‘best interests of the child’ as the primary consideration. In determining the best interests of the child, the Court must consider:
- The benefit to the child of having a meaningful relationship with both of the child’s parents; and
- The need to protect the child from physical or psychological harm from being subjected to, or exposed to, abuse, neglect or family violence.
Additional considerations for the Court include:
- The child’s views
- The nature of the relationship of the child with the parents, and other persons such as grandparents
- The willingness and ability of each parent to facilitate and encourage a relationship between the child and other parent
- The likely effect of any changes in the child’s circumstances
- Maturity, sex, lifestyle and background of the parents and the child
- Any incidences of family violence
The proposed (or actual) distance of the relocation is also a major factor for the Court’s consideration.
The further away a parent moves, the harder it will be for the relocating parent to show that it is in the child’s best interests to move that distance away from the other parent, as the contact with them is likely to be much less frequent.
The Court will balance the above considerations, together with anything else they think is relevant, against the right of freedom of movement of the relocating parent, bearing in mind that the final decision must be what is in the ‘best interests of the child’.
Relocation – More Information
The sorts of things a Court wants to know, this issues and what a considers if they are deciding a case involving a parent who either has already moved away or who wants to move away, is explained in the information sheet How does a court decide Relocation cases if a parent moves away or wants to move away.
If you already have a Court Order or are getting a Court Order then you should also read our information sheet Court Orders & Relocation explained in full.
Our information sheet The other parent might Relocate: Do I need to do anything might also be helpful to you.
Relocation, Domestic & International Child Abduction: More Information
We also have the following pages providing additional information in relation to both Relocation of a Parent with a Child within Australia (domestically) and International Child Abduction:
- Can I stop the other Parent Relocating with my Child
- We’re on friendly terms – Do I worry about possible relocation
- The other parent might relocate: Do I need to do anything?
- Court Orders about Relocation explained in full
- How does a Court decide Relocation Cases if a Parent moves away or wants to move away
- Documenting your Parenting Agreement in a Binding and Enforceable way
- List of Hague Convention Countries
- What happens when a Child is taken to a Hague Convention Country
- What happens when a Child is taken to a Non-Hague Convention Country
- How to get a Passport for a Child
- How to make a Special Circumstances Application for a Child Passport
- Stopping a Child Travelling overseas: Child already has Passport
- Stopping a Child Travelling Overseas: No Passport for Child Issued yet
- Court Orders regarding Passports and Overseas Travel Orders
- Matters considered by Courts regarding issuing a Passport or making an Overseas Travel Order
Please show support for our free service by liking our Facebook Page
All Topics in the Child Issues Section
- Types of Parental Responsibility Orders
- Child’s Time with Parents: Shared Care or not
- Grandparents: Rights to see Grandchildren
- Documenting a Parenting Agreement
- Best Interests of the Children
- Relocation of a Parent with a Child
- Change of a Child’s Surname
- Child Passports & Overseas Travel after Separation or Divorce
- How to change a Final Parenting Order previously made by the Court
- International Child Abduction